My Angiogram

This morning Diane’s alarm went off at 0400, alerting us that only one hour remained before we had to leave for Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland. Me, being more level-headed, and forbidden from ingesting protein in order to survive the day, had my alarm set for 0430. Had I slept in my clothes last night, and slept in the car, I would not have needed an alarm at all. But, I was forced to sleep in the bed which means it was necessary for me to clothe myself in attire suitable for a public appearance in spite of the early hour. I only needed about 3 minutes to do that, but got up before my alarm activated, spewing annoying church bells into my sleepy ears. That would have been just terrible.

I got up, stuffed myself into some dirty jeans, clean shirt, clean socks, and the sneakers I wore home from Idaho. Also, though I didn’t need them, Diane insisted that I wear underwear. Clean ones. So, I did. I also fixed a bag of ‘things’ in case I had to stay the night after my angiogram procedure.

Diane got us safely to the hospital in plenty of time, but had to toss me out in front while she went the park the Buick. I was the only patient in the place so got attention right away from the nice lady at the desk. She asked my name and birthday while I extracted all the photo ID’s and medical cards from my wallet. Being a good American, I have 4 photo ID’s and two medical cards so I was well prepared. I was disappointed that she didn’t look at any of them. Anyone who knew my name and birthday could have kidnapped me and hi-jacked my angiogram with no problem. I don’t know about you, but I think hospital security is severely lacking and there should be armed guards at all points of egress to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future. Metal detectors should also be installed to keep doctors from trying to sneak their homemade surgical tools into the facility. It is my misinformed understanding that there’s a black market for items like this where doctors trade homemade wears at tables outside all the operating theaters. It’s an unsubstantiated activity to which hospital administrators turn a blind eye because for them it’s money in their pockets since they don’t have to restock the shelves themselves. I haven’t heard that it’s true, but think administrators have an underground network of garage labs that sharpen and shine used tools to augment these black market activities.

After being semi-adequately identified at the check-in counter, and receiving my critical arm band that substantiated my identity, I sat in the hospital lobby for about 17-38 minutes before a nice lady showed up with a wheelchair to take me upstairs. She had some paperwork and confirmed that my armband was correct before releasing the brakes and heading for the elevator.

On the second floor I was wheeled into a large room full of hospital beds situated in such a manner that each of them could be  completely shielded for privacy by curtains hung from the ceiling by chains, just liken an emergency room. Unlike an emergency room, however, I was immediately placed into the care of Mary, my prep nurse, who pointed out the festive backless dress laying on my assigned bed and suggested that I shuck my street wear and insert myself into the garment. Instead of the standard blue design, mine was brown. My favorite color. Then she pulled the curtains around my bed and left me alone for a few minutes.

Alone, I removed my shoes, jeans, shirt and socks then my lovely bride stepped in and helped fasten the gown since I’ve not had a lot of experience tying knots behind my back. The clothing was placed into a large plastic bag that was spread over the top of my dress. It was placed under my bed as I attempted to climb onto the bed as directed. Before that happened, however, Diane had conducted a really quick inventory of the bag containing my clothes and said, “give me your underwear.” Reluctantly, I dropped them to the floor, picked them up and handed them to my bride. I’m sure I detected a smirk as she took them.

Mary returned with a tray of equipment, sat down next to the bed, then proceeded to put me at ease while she prepped me for an IV in my right hand. First, she gave me a tiny, barely felt poke with a numbing agent, waiting about 10 seconds, talking the entire time, then inserted the IV without me even knowing. It was truly amazing. The best IV I’ve ever had in my entire life. Really! It was amazing!

After the IV was in place, and taped down, Mary turned to the computer terminal assigned to my bed, and put me at ease by asking me a whole boat-load of personal questions which I answered, and elaborated on in great detail. When the quiz was completed, we had a very nice chat while she shaved off half the pubic hair above my right testicle. That’s my right, as I look down … your left if you were looking at me. It was an unexpected treat with an electric razor that caused the curly little pubes to fly all over the place. To remove the pubic debris, Mary wrapped a piece of duct tape around her right hand, sticky side out, and patted the area as if she was removing lint from her favorite pair of dress slacks. Though I didn’t look, I’m sure she got it all.

Then she gave me a Valium and told me the names of the four nurses and doctors into whose care I would shortly be placed. Sadly, I can’t remember them. I just know that I was left alone, with Diane, for about 40 minutes, during which time I napped. Then, one of the Angiogram Crew appeared, unlocked the wheels on my bed and away we went down the hallway.

The AR (angiogram room) was pretty impressive. I was wheeled next to the table where all the action was to take place. I know that’s true because that’s what the crew told me.

Once aligned with the stationary bed, I was helped off the mobile bed and placed into the necessary position defined by the operating crew. It was actually the same position I had attained on the mobile bed so it wasn’t difficult for me. I even made sure my dress was draped over each side of the table. This served two purposes … one, there were very warm blankies on the table, and two, it gave easy access for whatever the crew wanted to do. I was nearing the point where I didn’t really care what that might be.

Next to the table was an enormous television set that was displaying about six different views. I figured one of the areas of the screen was devoted to some cooking show, but I could be wrong. It may have been ESPN.

The Shawn-ster, according to the support crew for Dr. Patrick, would be there shortly but that didn’t happen until after Linda, I think, added some sleepy juice to my IV. Consequently, I don’t remember anything else until I woke up back in my mobile bed in the prep/recovery room with Mary and Diane by my side. Apparently I had a long talk with Dr. Patrick right after the procedure but that didn’t work out because he told Diane that he knew I wouldn’t remember it because my eyes kept rolling back in my head. Thankfully, he had the same conversation with Diane so the story was preserved and shared with me when I was awake enough to comprehend the English language.

The fact that I was back in prep/recovery meant nothing significant happened during the procedure. Diane said Dr. Patrick told her that all the arteries and veins around my heat are “pristine”. I had to look that up but instinctively knew it was a good thing. He didn’t find anything wrong and said I have the heart of a 9-year-old. Maybe he didn’t say that. Maybe it was Diane saying I acted like a 9-year-old. I disagree, of course. I think I act much older, like at least 17. Yes, easily 17.

When I was finally released, they rolled me to the front of hospital and helped insert me into the Buick then Diane drove me home where she cooked me a lovely lunch of fried eggs, oven fried hash brown patties, toast, coffee, milk and orange juice. And my pills.

Then I napped most of the afternoon and she fed me hotdogs and chile for dinner. Then we watched about 5 episodes of “Major Crimes”, one of our new favorite shows.

Now I must rest some more Diane insists. She almost won’t let me up to go to the bathroom but I warned her about the alternative of remaining in my chair. She’s being very stern with me about no doing much. There’s a clear adhesive over my incision so that we can judge whether or not it’s bleeding. I don’t know what they plugged my femoral artery with but it’s apparently working. Tomorrow Diane has to change the bandage so we will get to see the wound. I took a picture of it today, but Diane threatened me with divorce if I published it. So, I’ll have to shelve it for 7 years when the statute of limitations expires.

2 thoughts on “My Angiogram

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